UNC AD Bubba Cunningham Receives Second 10 Percent Pay Bump of 2016

UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham has received a pay bump after it appeared Cunningham was ready to move to the University of Florida in early September.

The News & Observer is citing a university record that was released on Friday in reporting Cunningham’s salary has been increased to $705,853 annually.

WCHL reported that the university was preparing a raise for Cunningham in the wake of the near move to Florida, which was reportedly offering Cunningham $1.4 million annually.

Cunningham’s new salary at UNC represents nearly a 10 percent bump from his previous salary of $642,268. This is the second 10 percent increase Cunningham has received in the 2016 calendar year. Cunningham’s salary has increased form $583,880 to the new $705,853 figure over the last 10 months.

Cunningham was one of nine administrators who received a raise at a January UNC Board of Trustees meeting. While eight other administrators received raises at that meeting, Cunningham’s was the largest percentage increase.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt’s salary has jumped nearly 13 percent since October 2015. Folt was given a nearly 10 percent increase by the UNC System Board of Governors last fall before receiving a raise of more than three percent in July. Folt’s salary is now $596,448.


Chansky’s Notebook: Did Someone Cave?

Looks to me like six rewards and one deal made.

UNC announced new contracts or extensions for seven coaches this week. And among them is women’s Hall of Famer Sylvia Hatchell. Curiously, Hatchell’s contract was extended through the 2020 season, while no other coach got signed up beyond 2019.

Not that Joe Breschi, Anson Dorrance, Sam Paul, Karen Shelton, Jenny Levy or Carlos Samoano have security issues. Each has won NCAA and/or ACC championships in recent years. Hatchell, by contrast, hasn’t won an ACC title since 2008 or been to the Final Four since ’07, and her one national crown came 22 years ago in 1994.

Breschi has taken all eight of his UNC lacrosse teams to the NCAA tournament and his Tar Heels beat Maryland in one of the greatest title games ever played in the sport last spring. Levy, his counterpart in women’s lacrosse, has been to nine Final Fours and won two NCAA titles in the last four years, including also beating Maryland on the same weekend as the men.

Dorrance is the most dominant coach in the history of women’s soccer, winning 21 national championships, and probably couldn’t care less about a new contract. Samoano won his first NCAA title a few years ago and has led his men’s team to the soccer dance each of his five seasons as Carolina’s head coach.

Shelton has been almost as dominant as Dorrance in field hockey, winning six NCAA titles and regularly reaching the Final Four. Paul took his men’s tennis team to a No. 1 ranking and won his first national championship to go with seven assorted ACC titles.

Yes, Hatchell has won 975 games in her 41 years as a head coach. But the hard truth is that her ACC title drought is now eight years old. And the harder truth is that her program was the only one mentioned in the NCAA investigation into academic fraud at UNC.

And the hardest truth of all, if you believe widespread reports, is that Hatchell lawyered up last year and threatened more bad publicity for the school if she did not get a contract extension to match Roy Williams’ through 2020.

Did someone at Carolina cave? Maybe.


Seven UNC Coaches Receive New Contracts

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That seems to be the mantra that the UNC Athletic Department is operating under, as it was announced Thursday that the school came to an agreement on brand new three-year deals for five of its head coaches and extended the contracts of two more.

The group receiving the multi-year deals consists of: Anson Dorrance (women’s soccer), Sam Paul (men’s tennis), Joe Breschi (men’s lacrosse), Carlos Somoano (men’s soccer) and Karen Shelton (field hockey).

Despite coming under fire during the school's academic scandal, UNC women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell was rewarded with a two-year extension. (Elliot Rubin)

Despite coming under fire during the school’s academic scandal, UNC women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell was rewarded with a two-year extension. (Elliot Rubin)

Believe it or not, it’s the first multi-year deal for each of the coaches listed above. All five of them now have agreements that run through the 2018-19 season.

Women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy each had their current contracts extended.

Hatchell’s deal is a two-year extension that runs through the 2019-20 season while Levy’s is a one-year extension lasting through the 2018-19 season.

The seven coaches have combined to win 34 national championships during their time at UNC–including 22 from Dorrance by himself.

“This is a remarkable group of head coaches – each of them has won a national championship and they have a combined 168 years directing their programs at Carolina,” UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “We are excited and proud to sign these seven championship coaches to these multi-year contracts and extensions.

“We are fortunate to have such quality people directing our programs,” Cunningham continued. “They have provided consistent and outstanding leadership for many years, and that leadership has paid off successfully in competition, in the classroom and in their development of the young women and men they coach.”

Five of the seven coaches earning new deals have been at the university for over 20 years. Only Breschi (2009) and Somoano (2011) arrived in Chapel Hill during this century.

The UNC-CH Board of Trustees has approved the terms of the contracts.


Chansky’s Notebook: Sicker And Sicker

Meanwhile, while I was away…

Watching from afar the last few days was like an out-of-body experience. Expected the Tar Heels to crush Illinois and they did. Did not think Wake Forest would win at Duke, but had fun watching it happen. Although the Patriots did not have Brady, nor Gronk, nor Ninkovich, they still looked like the Pats to me.

But, around here, oh, no, we can’t just let the sports season unfold and enjoy it. How many national news crawls are were going to need before UNC athletes stop putting themselves in harm’s way. Last February, junior linebacker Allen Artis was where he shouldn’t have been with someone he shouldn’t have been with and, boom, we’re on the CBS News again. It LOOKS like the university drags its feet, so his accuser files the perfunctory misdemeanor charges that triggers suspension from the team and it LOOKS bad that Artis already played in the first two games. And Carol Folt’s zero-tolerance policy LOOKS ridiculous. Can Carolina please untangle its feet?

Then John Swofford is finally moved off his politically correct spot by the NCAA moving championship events out of North Carolina because of HB2. He has no choice but do what he should have done months ago and takes ten conference titles scheduled here for neutral sites outside the Tar Heel borders, including the ACC football championship game scheduled for Charlotte less than three months from now. Not much time to find the right venue let alone spin it and market it to make some sort of sense, fiscal and otherwise.

And turn on election coverage on ANY channel, for more than two minutes, and I am back under the weather for another week. Am I just feeling ill and cranky, or is the world around me making me sick. The week began with a story breaking that Bubba Cunningham almost took the AD’s job at Florida, outside this state and in a league that doesn’t seem to give a hoot about anything but playing ball and no one can stop it from just doing that.

Couldn’t help but wonder whether Bubba was second-guessing his decision.


Cunningham Said Yes, Then No, To Florida

Sources close to both athletic departments have confirmed a USA Today report that UNC’s Bubba Cunningham agreed to become the new athletics director at the University of Florida in August but changed his mind as the deal was to be announced in Gainesville, Florida.

Cunningham, who grew up in Naples, Florida, and still has family there, was offered a reported $1.4 million annual contract, according to the sources. His guaranteed annual income is about half that at UNC, which is reportedly preparing a contract extension and substantial pay increase. Cunningham, who has begun his sixth year as Carolina’s AD, received a raise in early 2016 to $642,268, with performance-based bonuses that could drive his total compensation close to $1 million.

USA Today reported that Jeremy Foley, the athletics director for last 25 years at Florida, staying on in an advisory capacity with an “emeritus” title might have played a part in Cunningham’s decision to remain at UNC.  Cunningham is also in the late stages of shepherding UNC through a two-plus year NCAA investigation, and – according to sources in Chapel Hill – he wants to see that process through.

While UNC has an $80 million athletics budget supporting 28 intercollegiate sports program, Florida has a $160 million budget for only 19 sports. The fact that Florida competes in the Southeastern Conference, which has (with the Big 10) the largest annual distribution of television rights per school contributes heavily to its budget.

Contacted in Illinois, where he was with the Tar Heel football team, Cunnkingham said, “I understand there is great interest in that position but, consistent with my philosophy and policy on any job searches involving coaches, I do not comment on employment issues regardless of whether it is at Carolina or any other school unless there is a change in employment status.

“I am fortunate to have one of the top athletic director’s jobs in the nation at one of the premier institutions in the world. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff are excited about a new year getting started and I am happy to help them try and reach their dreams and goals.”


Fall Sports Calendar Heats Up At UNC

Fall sports season is officially in full swing on campus.

The UNC men’s soccer season gets underway Friday night as the #8 Tar Heels host Cal Poly, 7:30 pm at Fetzer Field. Carolina also hosts St. Louis on Sunday at 7:30.

Also this weekend, UNC women’s soccer is in Florida: Friday evening they’re in Fort Myers facing Florida Gulf Coast at 7 pm; then on Sunday they’re in Boca Raton, taking on Florida Atlantic at 1:00.

The Tar Heel volleyball team gets its season under way this weekend in the Penn State Classic. The Heels face Georgia Southern at 5 pm Friday, then a doubleheader on Saturday against West Virginia at 1 pm and host Penn State at 7.

And the Tar Heel field hockey team, #1 in the nation, is in Winston-Salem for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Saturday at 2 pm, they face #10 Michigan, then they take on Iowa at 2 pm Sunday.

Of course Carolina football still has a week before its season begins, down in Atlanta against the Georgia Bulldogs. But the team got some news this week too, as seven Tar Heels have been named to the watch list for this year’s Senior Bowl. Center Lucas Crowley, tackle Jon Heck, wide receiver Mack Hollins, cornerback Des Lawrence, tailback T.J. Logan, guard Caleb Peterson, and wide receiver/punt returner Ryan Switzer are all on the list.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place in Mobile, Alabama on January 28; it’s considered the nation’s premier college football all-star game.


Chansky’s Notebook: No Food Projectiles, Please

Stop the presses, more big news with Carolina athletics.

Now that UNC has responded to the amended Notice of Allegations and Lew Margolis has told us that the Tar Heels should forfeit every victory back to the Choo Choo Justice era, Bubba’s staff has been working on some more really important stuff this summer hoping to increase attendance or concession revenue.

Not sure which. The athletic department released its new policy about bringing food into Olympic sports venues while announcing the price of concessions had been reduced dramatically.

Let’s see. Junior hot dogs and soft drinks can now be purchased for $1 at the softball and baseball stadium, Fetzer Field and Carmichael Arena. Don’t be running out to buy your season passes to all these sports just yet. Bottomless popcorn, Papa John’s pizza and Bojangles Chicken Supremes will still cost you 7 or 8 bucks.

There was actually a release sent out about these new prices, along with news that we can now bring our own food into most Tar Heel games that aren’t football and men’s basketball. But there are restrictions, mind you, when packing up your picnic basket. Such as:

  • Food items should be wrapped, bagged or left inside a container.
  • Food containers must be soft-sided and small enough to fit under the spectator’s seat, or the 20 empty seats next to you.
  • Non-glass and non-alcoholic beverages, 20 ounces or less and factory-sealed, and soft-sided coolers with the plastic liner removed are permitted. I repeat, no plastic liners.
  • And my personal favorite of the new policies: Food that might be thrown as a projectile must be sliced or sectioned, such as oranges, apples and other fruits.

Cut out this list and put it on your refrigerator door. NOW!

By the way, UNC will have members of the ROTC there to determine what is a food projectile, and event management will ask that you return said projectiles to your vehicle or be discarded, meaning tossed in the garbage, not be accepted for storage. The illegal food, not you.

The release said, “We hope these changes will encourage our fans to attend more events and support our fantastic student-athletes and teams.”

And P.S., the NCAA can still go to hell.


Failed UNC Leadership and the ANOA

The UNC response to the amended notice of allegations by the NCAA is, sadly, a missed opportunity to demonstrate leadership against the corrupt quagmire of Big Time intercollegiate sports. In announcing the release of its response, the university unconvincingly and patronizingly claimed that “the question is whether the matters raised by the allegations meet the jurisdictional, procedural and substantive requirements of the NCAA constitution and bylaws—rules that govern athletics, not academic quality and oversight.”

The UNC mission is “to serve as a center for scholarship, research, and creativity.” As UNC’s numerous investigations and initiatives attest, Big Time sports undermines that mission. Instead of questioning the legitimacy of the NCAA to concern itself with academic quality and oversight, here’s what I hope UNC would say to the NCAA about athletics.

“Twenty years of fraudulent classes involving 3,000 students, disproportionately athletes, struck at the heart of our mission.  We have undertaken wide-ranging investigations, implemented reforms, and held a few individuals accountable.  Due to all of the compromises inherent in Big Time sports, we doubt, however, that the NCAA is capable of administering the appropriate penalties. Because athletics is ultimately about wins and losses, UNC will impose on itself the only meaningful penalty. We will forfeit all games involving any athlete who was enrolled in any of these fraudulent classes.  In order to be perfectly clear that academic cheating in the sports enterprise is unacceptable, we are using the definitive sports measure–wins and losses—not only to hold ourselves accountable, but to model—or teach, if you will—the appropriate action that the NCAA and other universities should take.”


— Lew Margolis.



Tar Heels Finish Top 4 in Men’s and Women’s Capital One Cups

It was truly a special year for UNC athletics, as the Tar Heels wrapped up the 2015-16 season with a pair of top-four finishes in the Capital One Cup.

When results were announced Monday for the competition–which measures cumulative on-field performance across each men’s and women’s sport–UNC’s men placed second while its women tied for fourth.

In the award’s six-year history, the Tar Heels have been among the most successful programs–but this is still just the second time they’ve placed both their men and women in the top 10.

Oklahoma and Stanford are the only other schools that achieved the same honor this season.

Points are earned based on the amount of top-10 finishes in NCAA Division I Championships, as well as final coaches’ polls across 21 women’s and 20 men’s sports.

Championships in both men’s and women’s lacrosse helped the Tar Heel cause the most–while title game appearances by men’s basketball and field hockey also held a significant amount of weight.

This honor also comes just a couple weeks after UNC’s seventh place showing in the Directors’ Cup–which combines men’s and women’s sports into a single award.

In total, the Tar Heel women–who won the Capital One Cup in 2012-13–have finished in the top 10 in five out of six years.

The men, however, achieved their best finish this season while earning a third top-10.


UNC Ranks Seventh in Final Directors’ Cup Standings

Thursday morning brought the announcement that–for the 19th time in the award’s 23-year history–the Tar Heels again finished in the top 10 of the Learfield Director’s Cup standings.

After finishing the 2015-16 school year with a final tally of 1089.5 points, the Tar Heels ended up seventh overall–but were the highest ranked school to come from the ACC.

The Directors’ Cup measures postseason success and hands out points to a maximum of 10 men’s and 10 women’s programs per school.

Leading the way for the Tar Heels were their men’s and women’s lacrosse programs–which each earned 100 points toward UNC’s total by winning their sport’s national championships.

Runner-up finishes by men’s basketball and field hockey also played a large role in the Tar Heels’ final standing. In total, the school had 12 programs finish the season ranked in the top 20 of their respective sports.

There were no surprises at the top of the leaderboard, as Stanford took home the trophy for an astonishing 22nd consecutive year. The Cardinal racked up 1526.5 points to finish ahead of Ohio State, Michigan, Southern California and Florida.

UNC, which won the 1993-94 title, is the only other athletic program to ever win the prize. The Tar Heels’ 19 top 10 finishes rank fourth all-time behind only Stanford, Florida and UCLA.

All of the ACC’s other members have combined for just 18 top 10 finishes–or one less than UNC has by itself.

Eighth-place Virginia was the only other school from the conference to finish in the top 10 this year.